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Special Report

Shifting Focus Away from the Inauguration

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Web Withdrawal

A message on the official ABC News Web site asked readers for help on a possible inauguration day story saying, "We are trying to find out if there any military funerals for Iraq war causalities scheduled for Thursday, January 20." ABC then asked for information on any family that might be willing to speak on camera. The network has since pulled that post.

Meanwhile, last night’s "Nightline" dealt with what the show called, "critics" who believe that voting irregularities in Ohio on Election Day cost John Kerry the presidency.

And "Good Morning America" led their inauguration day show with a story and a live interview with a woman who planned to protest the ceremony today, because her son was among those killed in Iraq.

Democratic Critics

Congressional Democrats are mostly silent or complementary of the president on inauguration today, but not all of them. In an e-mail to supporters, New York Senator Charles Schumer wrote, "When the inauguration bands stop playing and Congress comes back into session, we Democrats will be on guard and ready to fight against the Republicans’ extreme policies."

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi wrote, "I don’t feel much like celebrating. So I’m going to mark the occasion by pledging to do everything in my power to fight the Republicans’ agenda." Adding, "Tell President Bush that party time is over."

Their comments were made in fund-raising appeals.

Interesting Conversations

TV cameras were barred for most of the president’s inaugural luncheon on Capitol Hill today, but one wonders what might have been said at some of the tables. Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, outspoken of the war, sat with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Conservative Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, the former Senate of the Judiciary Committee, shared a table with the liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

And Bill and Hillary Clinton had lunch with Bush strategist Karl Rove. While the former president is reportedly an admirer of Rove’s talents, there’s no word on whether fellow tablemate Ted Kennedy shares that view.

Implementing Inaugural promises

In one sign that the president indeed intends to put his administration on the side of democracy abroad, Secretary of State Colin Powell will represent the United States at the inauguration of Ukraine’s new President Viktor Yushchenko, on Sunday. Powell will remain secretary of state until National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is confirmed by the Senate, expected next week.

Viktor Yushchenko, of course, was elected in an internationally supervised vote, after an earlier ballot in Ukraine was thrown out due to widespread fraud by supporters of incumbent party candidate, Viktor Yanukovych.

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report